With races back on the calendar this year, our goal is to amplify our athletes’ stories, their journeys to the startline and provide some context behind race results. This week we caught up with Reilly Whittaker fresh off a huge run at Vancouver’s First Half. Reilly’s a frequent flier at our Vancouver workouts and has been working with coach Kim since 2018. We dive into how the race played out, how she’s balancing training alongside work, her relationship with her coach and what’s next on her horizon.
First off, congratulations on cracking 1:30! How’d the race play out? Was that something you were shooting for or did you have a magical day?
Thank you!! It was definitely a hot mix of planning and magic! My coach, Kim, and I had talked about me going out with the 1:30 pacer and seeing how my body was feeling. Like a lot of folks, it’s been a long time since I’ve raced, so we really wanted to use this as a test to see where my fitness was at.
The 1:30 group was pretty congested for the first few kilometers though, so I decided to get just in front of them to have a little more space. Once I did that, my legs were feeling great and I just wanted to take advantage of that. My watch had gone totally berserk so I had no idea what my splits were and just had to trust my body and my training. It worked!
How long have you been working with Kim and how have you found managing training with your day to day life?
I started working with Kim in 2018 and it has hands down been one of the best things I’ve ever done – not only for my running, but for my overall physical and mental health. Trying to figure out my training on top of work, and time with family and friends, was really hard, it led to injuries, a whole lot of stress, and I often felt like I was giving something up. Now, I feel like my training seamlessly fits into my life – I’ll tell Kim I want to go for a hike with my nephew, or go for an easy run with a friend, or that I’ve had a crazy day at work and feel drained and she’ll help me navigate that.
Fishing for a testimonial quote here, but what is it like being a part of the Mile2Marathon community?
I’ve always felt a real sense of camaraderie being a part of the Mile2Marathon community. There are days when I’m feeling awesome and I get to help pull along someone who’s not feeling so hot, and there have definitely been days (probably more of ‘em!) where I’m the one who needs encouragement and I’ve always been so supported by this group.
Having a group that holds you accountable is also pretty special. Vancouver can be a really wonderful place to run, but it can also be really hard sometimes. There have been many nights when I’ve come home from work, and it’s dark and gray, and the rain is coming down sideways and I’ve thought about skipping a group practice. But then I get there and there are 50 people all bundled up who showed up, and I think there’s something really magical about that.
I’ve noticed a lot of people discover Mile2Marathon in different ways; I’m curious as to what sparked your initial interest into M2M, and if can you offer any words of advice to those sitting on the fence?
My advice to anyone who’s on the fence about signing up for Mile2Marathon is to do it now! The best time to sign up was yesterday, and the second best time is right now! I was aware of Mile2Marathon but waffled about signing up for a really long time, because I didn’t think I was a good enough runner. But getting a coach, and running with people who are stronger runners than I am is what has made me into a better runner!
The tipping point for me was when I was passed by someone during a half marathon who looked like she was having the time of her life while I felt like my legs were made of bricks. I stumbled upon her instagram after the race and saw that she thanked Mile2Marathon in the caption. I remember thinking “this isn’t just for elite folks, this can be for me too.” I emailed Dylan that day!
Lastly, what’s up next for you? I hear Boston might be on the horizon? Any big goals for Marathon Monday?
Boston is on the horizon! I’ve heard so many amazing stories about the atmosphere and the experience and after two years of not racing, I’m honestly just so excited to just be in that environment. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say sub 3 is also in the back of my mind… or maybe the front of my mind… I’m just going to say it, I’m going for sub 3!
Thank you Reilly for taking the time to share your story and good luck in the rest of your build to Boston. Stay tuned for more athlete stories coming your way.